Hello Davidson Families,
As we begin school, I want to share my excitement in welcoming our students back to Davidson for a year of learning, growing, and building relationships. Middle school is a time in life where our students are going through a multitude of changes, and those changes require that we take the time and attention to create a safe, caring, inclusive environment for all our students. I am pleased to say we have had a smooth start to the school year, and have taken steps to ensure the culture and climate of Davidson is one that centers on inclusion. I want to emphasize that it is my priority that all students feel safe and have a positive experience on campus. Davidson will continue to improve our anti-racism practices over the course of this school year. Some of the efforts to aggressively address racism and ensure we have a supportive school culture and climate at Davidson, as well as other SRCS schools, this year include:
The Davidson staff has prioritized anti-racism training as one of our key professional development priorities this year. All staff at Davidson and across SRCS schools have begun working with Dr. Lori Watson with the Race-Work organization to improve anti-racism practices in all areas of campus life. We’ll continue to work with Dr. Watson throughout the year as we dig deeper into the work.
Social emotional learning is an important part of the education Davidson provides for our students. This year, counseling teams across SRCS are designing lessons that help students confront racial bullying, and support their peers who may be experiencing hate speech or other acts of racism.
To create a safe space for Black and Latino students, and to build community with their peers, Davidson has partnered with several community organizations to lead affinity groups. These spaces not only help our students navigate the challenges they experience, but how to thrive in a school and the world they will be joining as young adults. The affinity groups are led by adults that look like them, are experts in racial equity work, and know how to build strong relationships with youth. The organizations also regularly partner with our staff to provide training and/or guidance in supporting our black and latino youth.
Davidson is also partnering with the American Defamation League to provide a three-hour workshop to all seventh graders about what it means to be a bystander versus an upstander, and how they can disrupt racism when they see it on our campus.
Dr. Watson will also be hosting several parent education sessions during the school year. These evening events are designed to help parents support their children at home when they confront racism, and better prepare our students as they grow into adulthood in our schools and in our community. They are being hosted at Davidson, but all SRCS families are welcome to attend.
Dr. Watson will also be leading our SLAM (Student Led Anti-racist Movement) team. This team has already been established at our SRCS high schools, and bringing it to Davidson will help empower student leaders in ways that can address exclusionary practices at school, and strengthen our high school programs by graduating experienced SLAM students right here at Davidson.
On top of the actions we are taking as a school, Davidson has also spent the summer working on several systems and structures that can support a safer school community throughout our school campus. A team of teacher leaders and administration has developed lunch policies that create more structure, safer spaces in the yard, and improved supervision. As a staff we’ve also developed revised expectations for students during the passing periods, entering and leaving campus, and while in the bathrooms and office spaces. As a school, we’ve also worked hard to ensure consistent messaging and signage are present to help reinforce those procedures and expectations. Ensuring everyone in our community knows how to conduct themselves outside the classroom is another important way we are working to create a safe environment for our community that fosters a sense of care and inclusion.
I want to emphasize to families that Davidson recognizes the increase in racial bullying and behaviors, and has prioritized it as a focus of the work that we do this year to improve safety for all of our students, and ensure everyone in our community feels safe, respected, and a valued member of our Cougar Community. I look forward to regularly sharing our anti-racist work with families over the course of the year in communications and at Principal Coffees, and am excited to see our children and community continue to grow and thrive during the 2023-2024 school year.
Michael Stachon - Principal Davidson Middle School